BLACKSBURG - David Sylvester is one of an elite few who has bicycled across three continents during the past 13 years, but for him, it has never been about the athletic accomplishments.
Sylvester makes these trips to help people by raising money for charity and stopping to volunteer at places like battered women shelters in Alabama, cancer treatment centers in Texas, a school for blind children in Arizona and countless other organizations, all to honor the memory of a childhood friend. Sylvester lost his friend Kevin in the 9/11 attacks back in 2001, and he says his accomplishments now are a testimony to how powerful the respect of a friend and his brother can be.
"They never made me feel like I was ten years younger. They always made me feel like I was their equal, which made me constantly try to step my game up, and try to mature, and try to be like them."
Sylvester will talk about his experiences with students Tuesday night at Virginia Tech, and also how his journey was stopped in its tracks back in 2006. He was hit by a drunk driver and told he may never ride again. But not only did he ride again, he decided to add crossing the continent of Asia to his resume, and he is now planning his next trip across Australia. It is this type of tenacity that Sylvester is hoping to leave with his Blacksburg audience.
"The main message of my talk, and anybody that meets me, is will. It's what will can do, and what you can will yourself to do, and it's limitless."
Sylvester will be on campus Tuesday night from 5-6:45 in the auditorium of Fralin Hall, and he also details his experiences in a memoir called "Traveling at the Speed of Life."